GCHD confirms first serious lung illness-related death in county
Galveston County Health District (GCHD) today confirmed its first death associated with E-cigarette, or Vaping, Associated Lung Injury (EVALI).
The patient was female, ranging in age 30-35, who passed away on Dec. 29, 2019 at a local hospital while being treated for EVALI. She was a Galveston County resident. For patient confidentiality purposes, GCHD is not releasing additional identifying information on the patient.
As of Jan. 3, GCHD has received four other confirmed or probable cases in patients hospitalized with EVALI. All are Galveston County residents.
E-cigarettes are devices that deliver an aerosol to the user by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals. The liquids are inhaled, a practice referred to as vaping. Devices can also deliver marijuana, THC and other substances.
As part of its ongoing investigation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend people should not use THC containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly from friends, family or in-person/ online sellers.
According to the CDC, Vitamin E should not be added to e-cigarette, or vaping, products. Likewise, people should not add substances not intended by the manufacturer to products, including those purchased through retail establishments.
While it appears that Vitamin E acetate is related to EVALI, there are many different substances and product sources that are being investigated, according to the CDC.
Adults who continue to use an e-cigarette, or vaping, product should carefully monitor themselves for symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, fever, chills or weight loss. Those who do experience symptoms should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
Regardless of the ongoing investigation, the CDC advises:
- E-cigarette, or vaping, products should never be used by youths, young adults, or women who are pregnant.
- Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette, or vaping, products. There is no safe tobacco product. All tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, carry a risk.
THC use has been associated with a wide range of health effects, particularly with prolonged frequent use. The best way to avoid potentially harmful effects is to not use THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products. Persons engaging in ongoing cannabis (marijuana) use that leads to significant impairment or distress should seek evidence-based treatment by a healthcare provider.
For more information on the CDC’s ongoing investigation, visit https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease/need-to-know/index.html.